Hormone Imbalances, Deficiencies and Disorders
45 year old Female with Fatigue, Weight Gain, Hot Flashes, Sleep Issues, Anxiety and a history of IBS and bowel dysfunction and irregularity.
Due to her age, it would be very easy for her and her health professionals to assign blame for her symptoms solely on hormone imbalances associated with perimenopause. Let's investigate her symptom picture according to the 5 hormone diagram shown above.
Can be caused by adrenal weakness, hypofunctioning thyroid gland, immune system strain caused by the food allergies associated with her IBS and digestive dysfunction, inadequate protein intake and subsequent blood sugar imbalances.
Can be caused by reproductive hormone imbalance associated with perimenopause; adrenal system fatigue, immune system reactions to food, hypofunctioning thyroid gland, increased carbohydrate intake caused by poor blood sugar control
Can be caused by high estrogen to progesterone ratio during perimenopause, anxiety episodes associated with adrenal fatigue, stimulant based hot flash caused by caffeine intake, food allergy reaction caused by the same foods associated with her IBS history, thyroid imbalances
Can be caused by adrenal weakness causing anxiety, reproductive hormone imbalances caused by perimenopause, thyroid dysfunction, hypoglycemia caused by poor blood sugar control, stimulants affecting cortisol levels at night
Can be caused by perimenopausal hormone imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal hormone deficiency or fight or flight adrenal excess
It's VERY EASY to see in this example, how a simple trip to the health food store to try some Evening Primrose or Flax oil, some herbal Black Cohosh or Chaste Tree or any other female menstrual hormone "balancer" will be of limited help to her. It is very likely that her perimenopausal estrogen and progesterone imbalance is PART of the cause of her overall symptom picture, but it is very UNLIKELY that it is the only cause. In many cases it's actually only a small piece of her hormonal "puzzle".
In order to truly "balance" someone you have to take all of the possible imbalances into account and provide a treatment plan that will address all of these imbalances.
The complex diagram shown indicates many of the symptoms and conditions that can be associated with slight imbalances (excesses or deficiencies) in the various hormone systems. The more important message in the diagram above are arrows indicating known influences of one hormone system on another. An imbalance in one system can literally influence and effect an imbalance or dysfunction in ANY OTHER HORMONE SYSTEM.
An imbalanced Estrogen level as compared to Progesterone can suppress thyroid function, causing various metabolic issues such as fatigue, weight gain, mood disorders, sleep issues, etc. At the same time, a weak or hypo-functioning thyroid gland can lead to imbalances in estrogen and progesterone causing menstrual cycles irregularities, mood disorders, fatigue, etc.
The interplay between these hormone systems is incredibly and intricately complex.